Best Children's Books About Historical figures

78 Children's Books About Historical figures

Updated Jan. 19, 2019
Good Grief, Georgia O'Keeffe! book
#51
Good Grief, Georgia O'Keeffe!
Written and illustrated by Misti Kenison
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Good grief, Georgia O'Keeffe!Are you painting flowers again?Georgia O'Keeffe is proud of her artwork, but all of the other artists want her to do things their way. Pablo Picasso wants her to paint cubes. Frida Kahlo says you should only paint yourself. Coco Chanel thinks art should be worn, not painted. When Georgia stands her ground, eventually the other artists are happy to support her. Featuring appearances from famous artists, architects, designers, and more, the newest title in this irreverent board book series makes art history fun and approachable for even the youngest of readers."

Steam! Taming the River Monster book
#52
Steam! Taming the River Monster
Written by Pat Perrin, Wim Coleman and illustrated by Sue Todd
picture book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

In 1807, folks living along the Hudson River saw a strange fire-breathing monster churning the waters. The sight of Robert Fulton's Clermont created havoc on the shore and river. One of the on-lookers, a young Brenton Dixon, got a job aboard the steamboat and assisted Fulton and his crew. Brenton continued working on steamboats throughout their great pre-Civil War heyday. One of ten plays in the Setting the Stage for Fluency series.

Antonio's Music book
#53
Antonio's Music
Written by Joanna Emery and illustrated by Sue Todd
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-8

Antonio loved to create music, and everyone loved to listen to it. But then, Antonio's music was forgotten for many years. Was Antonio's music gone forever?

Gandhi book
#54
Gandhi
Written by Alice B. McGinty and illustrated by Thomas Gonzales
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-10

Mohandas Gandhi’s 24-day March to the Sea, from March 12 to April 5, 1930, was a pivotal moment in India’s quest to become an independent country no longer ruled by Great Britain. With over 70 marchers, Gandhi walked from his hometown near Ahmedabab to the sea coast by the village of Dandi. The march was a non-violent means to protest the taxes that Great Britain had imposed on salt -- not the salt that the Indians could get from the sea, but the salt that Great Britain forced them to buy. Gandhi believed that peaceful protests were an effective way to challenge British law, and his peaceful but ultimately successful movement became known as Satyagraha.

The Night Henry Ford Met Santa book
#55
The Night Henry Ford Met Santa
Written by Carol Hagen and illustrated by Matt Faulkner
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Could Henry Ford have taken his idea for an automobile assembly line from the elves at the North Pole? Maybe so. Set just before Christmas in 1908, this charming tale finds Henry Ford puzzling over a way to make his Model T affordable for the average family. His little son Edsel suggests that Daddy write to Santa for advice. Since Santa makes toys for millions of children, Edsel points out, he must know a better way. Henry writes the letter just to please his son, but Santa actually answers by taking Henry to visit his North Pole workshop. When he sees the elves working in a line, each completing just one specific task on every toy that's made, Henry Ford envisions an automobile assembly line. The story not only illustrates that children can teach adults how to dream, but it also provides an author's note with factual information about Henry Ford and the Model T.

Epic Fails: Not So Great Presidents book
#56
Epic Fails: Not So Great Presidents
Written by Ben Thompson, Erik Slader and illustrated by Tim Foley
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-11

From heroic George Washington to the dastardly Richard Nixon, the oval office has been occupied by larger-than-life personalities since 1789. The position comes with enormous power and responsibility, and every American president thus far has managed to achieve great things. However, the President of the United States is only human―and oftentimes far from perfect. While some men suffered through only minor mishaps during their time in office, others are famously remembered for leaving behind much bigger messes. In the third installment of the Epic Fails series, authors Erik Slader and Ben Thompson, and artist Tim Foley, take readers on another hilarious ride, exploring the lives, legacies, and failures of some of America’s commanders in chief.

Guts & Glory: The American Civil War book
#57
Guts & Glory: The American Civil War
Written by Ben Thompson and illustrated by C.M. Butzer
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

From courageous cavalry rides deep into enemy territory to harrowing covert missions undertaken by spies and soldiers, the events of the American Civil War were filled with daring figures and amazing feats. This exhilarating overview covers the biggest battles as well as captivating lesser-known moments to entertain kids with unbelievable (and totally true) tales of one of America's most fascinating conflicts. History buff, Civil War reenactor, and popular blogger Ben Thompson uses his extensive knowledge and vivid storytelling style to bring the Civil War to life in this first book in a thrilling new series featuring incredible people, events, and civilizations. Get ready to learn just how awesome history can be!

Guts & Glory: The American Revolution book
#58
Guts & Glory: The American Revolution
Written by Ben Thompson and illustrated by C.M. Butzer
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-13

From George Washington crossing the icy Delaware, to Molly Pitcher fearlessly firing her cannon, the people of the American Revolution were some of the bravest and most inspiring of all time. Jump into a riot in the streets of Boston, join the Culper Spy Ring as they steal secrets in the dead of night, and watch the signing of the Declaration of Independence in this accessible, illustrated guide to the birth of the United States. History buff and popular blogger Ben Thompson's extensive research and irresistible storytelling make history come alive in this fourth book in the unforgettable Guts & Glory series.

Martin and Anne book
#59
Martin and Anne
Written by Nancy Churnin and illustrated by Yevgenia Nayberg
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-11

Anne Frank and Martin Luther King Jr. were born the same year a world apart. Both faced ugly prejudices and violence, which both answered with words of love and faith in humanity. This is the story of their parallel journeys to find hope in darkness and to follow their dreams.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart book
#60
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Written by Isabel Muñoz and illustrated by Jane Kent
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

Meet composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and learn about his life and music in this engagingly illustrated biography. Wolfgang Amadeus rose to fame as a child genius who wrote his first piece at the age of five, spent a lifetime making music for archbishops and emperors, and created countless compositions until his untimely death at only 35 years old. This engaging biography explores his amazing career, from when Mozart began his musical studies under his father's tutelage; through his time as a court composer, musician, and concertmaster; to his final work in honor of the coronation of Leopold II as King of Bohemia. Along the way, we find out about Mozart's travels and the great composers he met, his difficulties with his rich benefactors, his financial struggles, his marriage and family, and his final illness. Appealing illustrations, information on his breakthroughs and successes, and an index of major events reveal how Mozart left his mark on humanity. A timeline and simple quiz help kids test their understanding and knowledge.

Never Caught, The Story Of Ona Judge book
#61
Never Caught, The Story Of Ona Judge
Written by Kathleen Van Cleve and illustrated by Erica Armstrong Dunbar
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-13

A National Book Award Finalist for Nonfiction, Never Caught is the eye-opening narrative of Ona Judge, George and Martha Washington’s runaway slave, who risked everything for a better life—now available as a young reader’s edition! In this incredible narrative, Erica Armstrong Dunbar reveals a fascinating and heartbreaking behind-the-scenes look at the Washingtons’ when they were the First Family—and an in-depth look at their slave, Ona Judge, who dared to escape from one of the nation’s Founding Fathers. Born into a life of slavery, Ona Judge eventually grew up to be George and Martha Washington’s “favored” dower slave. When she was told that she was going to be given as a wedding gift to Martha Washington’s granddaughter, Ona made the bold and brave decision to flee to the north, where she would be a fugitive. From her childhood, to her time with the Washingtons and living in the slave quarters, to her escape to New Hampshire, Erica Armstrong Dunbar (along with Kathleen Van Cleve), shares an intimate glimpse into the life of a little-known, but powerful figure in history, and her brave journey as she fled the most powerful couple in the country.

Pocket Bios: John F. Kennedy book
#62
Pocket Bios: John F. Kennedy
Written and illustrated by Al Berenger
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

John F. Kennedy was a popular American politician who served as 35th President of the United States during the Cold War. As president, he notably supported the African American Civil Rights Movement, authorized the Bay of Pigs invasion on the coast of Cuba, and dealt with the Cuban Missile Crisis. His family was greatly admired around the world, and his tragic assassination in Dallas, Texas, had a lasting effect on the American psyche.

Pocket Bios: Pablo Picasso book
#63
Pocket Bios: Pablo Picasso
Written and illustrated by Al Berenger
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Pablo Picasso was co-founder of the Cubist movement and an inventor of art forms such as constructed sculpture and collage. An extremely prolific and multi-faceted artist, he produced a variety of extraordinary artworks throughout his long lifetime, including the Guernica and The Young Ladies of Avignon paintings. His creative, revolutionary style continues to mesmerize the world to this day, and he is one of the most influential and renowned artists of the 20th century.

Amelia Earhart and the Flying Chariot book
#64
Amelia Earhart and the Flying Chariot
Written by Steve Sheinkin
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

Two kids must un-twist history after Amelia Earhart changes course in the fourth Time Twisters chapter book by award-winning author Steve Sheinkin. WARNING: DO NOT BELIEVE THE STORY YOU’RE ABOUT TO READ. Well, you can believe some of it. There is some real history. But also hijinks. Time travel. And famous figures setting off on adventures that definitely never happened—till now. Time is getting twisted, and it’s up to two kids to straighten things out. Siblings Abby and Doc have been racing through time to fix history after Abraham Lincoln, Abigail Adams, and Neil Armstrong started popping up in the wrong places, at the wrong times. When Amelia Earhart accidentally lands her plane in Ancient Greece, Abby and Doc partner with Kyniska, the first woman to win the Olympics, to get Amelia back on track to finish her first solo flight across the Atlantic. Steve Sheinkin combines history, hilarity, and surprising twists in Amelia Earhart and the Flying Chariot. The fourth Time Twisters book is a surefire hit with history buffs and reluctant readers alike!

Pocket Bios: Princess Diana book
#65
Pocket Bios: Princess Diana
Written and illustrated by Al Berenger
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Princess Diana was the popular first wife of Prince Charles of Wales. Known as “the People's Princess,” she was involved in many charities and supported controversial causes. From her engagemnet to Charles, Princess Di had a special connection with the public in England and around the world. Her marriage was subject to aggressive media attention, and she was forever memorialized in the hearts of the British people after her death in a tragic car crash in Paris.

Pocket Bios: Joan of Arc book
#66
Pocket Bios: Joan of Arc
Written and illustrated by Al Berenger
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

A colorfully illustrated, pocket-size picture book biography of martyr and Roman Catholic saint, Joan of Arc. Joan of Arc was a teenager known for her instrumental role in the Hundred Years' War between the rulers of France and England. Guided by religious visions, she fearlessly helped King Charles VII win back the French throne from the British. After being captured and burned at the stake, she was declared a martyr and canonized as a saint in the Roman Catholic church. Joan of Arc is a national heroine and patron saint, as her legend remains popular and fascinating to this day. About the series:Pocket Bios are full of personality, introducing readers to fascinating figures with simple storytelling and cheerful illustrations. Titles include men and women from history, exploration, the sciences, the arts, and the ancient world. Biographies about religious and spiritual leaders include Gandhi and the Buddha.

Climbing Lincoln's Steps book
#67
Climbing Lincoln's Steps
Written by Suzanne Slade and illustrated by Colin Bootman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

Interweaves the story of black Americans' struggle for equality with important moments in African-American history that have occurred at the Lincoln Memorial, including Marian Anderson's concert in 1939; Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s famous speech in 1963; and a visit from the first African-American president and his family in 2009.

When Eleanor Roosevelt Learned to Jump a Horse book
#68
When Eleanor Roosevelt Learned to Jump a Horse
Written by Mark Andrew Weakland and illustrated by John Joseph
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-11

Eleanor Roosevelt was the niece of one president, and the wife of another. But did you know she was a leader in her own right? From supporting civil and women's rights to speaking to the public through her newsletter, My Day, Eleanor paved the way. This playful story of her childhood will help young readers connect with a historic figure and will inspire them to want to achieve greatness.

When Ruth Bader Ginsburg Chewed 100 Sticks of Gum book
#69
When Ruth Bader Ginsburg Chewed 100 Sticks of Gum
Written by Mark Andrew Weakland and illustrated by Daniela Volpari
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-11

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the second woman justice to serve on the Supreme Court. But do you know what she was like as a child? Strong role models and encouragement to be herself led Ruth to speak her mind and to stand up for equality. This playful story of her childhood will help young readers connect with a historic figure and will inspire them to want to achieve greatness.

When Cesar Chavez Climbed the Umbrella Tree book
#70
When Cesar Chavez Climbed the Umbrella Tree
Written by Rachael Teresa Hanel and illustrated by Alex Herrerias
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-11

Cesar Chavez is famous for his role as a civil rights leader. But do you know what he was like as a child? From losing his childhood home to toiling in fields as a migrant worker, Cesar wanted to help. This playful story of his childhood will help young readers connect with a historic figure and will inspire them to want to achieve greatness.

The Strongest Man in the World book
#71
The Strongest Man in the World
Written by Lucie Papineau and illustrated by Caroline Hamel
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

The Strongest Man in the World is a true story that reads like a Paul Bunyan tall tale. Cyprien-Noé was born into a poor family in a small village in Quebec, Canada in 1863. At the age of 8 he found a 100-pound calf that was stuck in the mud, lifted it up to his chin and carried it home over his shoulders. At 12, he came upon an injured man in the woods and carried him back to his horse and wagon. News of his strength spread. He changed his name to Louis Cyr, and, at age 18, he began traveling the United States, Canada and Europe, performing increasingly impressive feats of strength. At a performance in Boston when touring with Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circuses, Cyr lifted 350 pounds with one hand. He entered contests, bested other strong men, and eventually became known around the globe as the “Strongest Man in the World”.

When Bill Gates Memorized an Encyclopedia book
#72
When Bill Gates Memorized an Encyclopedia
Written by Mark Andrew Weakland and illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-11

Bill Gates is known as the richest man in the world. But do you know what he was like as a child? From selling peanuts to memorizing entire encyclopedias, Bill used his brain. This playful story of his childhood will help young readers connect with a historic figure and will inspire them to want to achieve greatness.

Ballots for Belva book
#73
Ballots for Belva
Written by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen and illustrated by Courtney A. Martin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

A timely true tale for the 2008 presidential election In 1884, when men were the only people allowed to vote in national elections, Belva Lockwood took a bold but legal step: She ran for president! Women did not have the same rights as men, but Belva went on undeterred—and she got votes! Her run for office was based on experience and merit: Unlike many women of the time, she went to college, then to law school, and even argued cases before the Supreme Court. Though her campaign was difficult, Belva never wavered in her commitment to equality, earning the respect of many fellow citizens. A little-known but richly deserving American historical figure, Belva is an inspiration for modern-day readers. Despite all the changes in society since Belva’s time, there is still a lot to fight for, and Belva shows the way. The book also includes a glossary and a timeline of women’s suffrage events. F&P level: Q

Nurse, Soldier, Spy book
#74
Nurse, Soldier, Spy
Written by Marissa Moss and illustrated by John Hendrix
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

This is the incredible true story of Sarah Emma Edmonds, who dressed as a man and fought in the Civil War. When she was 19, Sarah cut her hair, donned her brother's clothes, and fled from Canada, where her father wanted her to marry an elderly gentleman. In the U.S., she went by the name Frank Thompson and joined the Army to fight the Confederates. She was a nurse working on the battlefield when, because of her heroism, she was asked to serve as a spy. At her death, Edmonds was buried in a military cemetery, in a plot reserved for Civil War veterans--the only woman to have this honor.

Charles Darwin's Around-The-World Adventure book
#75
Charles Darwin's Around-The-World Adventure
Written and illustrated by Jennifer Thermes
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

In 1831, Charles Darwin embarked on his first voyage. Though he was a scientist by profession, he was an explorer at heart. While journeying around South America for the first time aboard a ninety-foot-long ship named the Beagle, Charles collected insets, dug up bones, galloped with gauchos, encountered volcanoes and earthquakes, and even ate armadillo for breakfast! The discoveries he made during this adventure would later inspire ideas that changed how we see the world.

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